December, 2016

Dear South Fellowship Church,

Merry Christmas to you and your family! It’s hard to believe another year is coming to a close. I find times of transition are a good chance to step back and reflect on the past year. As with any year, there were ups and downs; but we saw God’s good and gracious hand at work in it all. He has sustained us, he has grown us, and we give him all the glory and praise for the good things he has done. His mercy continues to be displayed in and through this church on a daily basis. I’m thankful for another year of living out gospel transformation, life giving community, and visible faith!

One of the words that epitomizes this past year for our church is ‘change.’ We’ve added three new staff members to our team in the past year and we promoted one person to a new position. Josh Billings came on board as Executive Pastor, Josh Suddath took over as Youth Pastor, Amy Palma joined our team as the Director of Kids Ministry, and Yvonne Biel took over as the director of Young Adult Ministry. God has brought us passionate, gifted, Jesus-loving people and it is a joy to work alongside them for the sake of the gospel!

In addition to the many roles that we have filled over the past year, we have continued to see God move in mighty ways – changing lives and drawing people to Jesus! Among other things, we have seen many people take the step of faith to be baptized, we have seen our Sunday attendance continue to increase, God has breathed new energy and passion into our kid’s ministry, and we hosted Perspectives and saw 42 South Fellowship attendees complete the course. In 2016 we began writing a daily devotional (The Daily) that follows along with our sermon series. We’ve seen hundreds of people engage with the content and use it as a way and we continue to see many people engaging our gospel-centered content online. Praise the Lord, for it is he who causes the growth!

This past year, South Fellowship continued its long tradition of being a blessing to the community. The Food Bank continues to operate at torrid pace, feeding 70-100 families in the community every week. The Early Learning Center and Solid Grounds are not only contributing financially to South Fellowship, they are also doing significant ministry. In addition, we continue to open our facility to over 70 outside groups and organizations on an annual basis. Our facility is truly viewed as a community center and we love it! The fact the building is used so much does mean there is regular maintenance and upgrades that need to take place. In the past year we were able to make facility upgrades to the kids wing; bringing it into the 21st century. We also are in the beginning stages of making some much needed improvements to the Student Center. Additionally, we just finished a sound system renovation in the sanctuary. We love having a space that is so usable for our church family and to those around us who need to hear the good news of Jesus.

If you’re a part of South Fellowship, I want to thank you for the ways you have given generously of yourself and your finances over this past year. As you consider organizations and ministries to contribute to at the end of this year, I would ask that you prayerfully consider a gift to South Fellowship Church. Your above-and-beyond gifts allow us to continue making improvements to our facilities as well as expanding the impact of our ministries. For your convenience we have included a response form highlighting different ways to give. Your year-end gifts need to be postmarked by December 31st in order to be counted on your 2016 taxes. In addition to partnering together financially, I’d like to encourage you to use the postcard included to invite someone to come to a Christmas Eve service with you. We are going to have a great night remembering the Christmas story and worshiping our God – who hears and comes to our rescue!

It is an absolute joy to be one of your pastors! Shepherding this church alongside our staff and elders is one of the great privileges of my life. If there is any way I can serve you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I hope you and your family have a wonderful time celebrating the coming of The King – Jesus Christ!

Grace + Peace,

Pastor Ryan Paulson